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Missing child sparks memories of missing Ben Needham

Original Source: Mail: 04 May 2007
Last updated at 17:13 04 May 2007
The disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann has echoes of the tragic case of Ben Needham, who went missing in Greece in 1991.

Ben was just 21 months old when he disappeared on the island of Kos where he was staying with his family.

Despite a long running campaign by mother, he has never been found.

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Kerry Grist, now 34, from Sheffield, said she knew what a terrible ordeal Madeleine's parents would be going through.
She said: "I can imagine what they are going through, I went through exactly the same 16 years ago. It will be a nightmare for them.

"They will be distraught, they will blame themselves, they will feel absolutely helpless and they will be praying that their little girl is found safe and well.

"All they can do is rely on the police and other support services."

She added: "At least she has gone missing in a busy commercial area with good communications so she can be found quickly.

"Hopefully they are getting better support from the police than we did when Ben went missing. We were in a very remote spot on Kos and the police didn't believe what we were telling them and valuable time was lost.

"That hasn't happened in this case and that can only help in the search for this little girl."

There have been a number of theories put forward to explain what happened to Ben.

In the months after he disappeared, the most common theory was that he had been snatched by gypsies.

Now Mrs Grist - she changed her name after remarrying last year - thinks her son was snatched for adoption by a non-Greek family, perhaps in Scandinavia, Australia or the United States.
She said: "I still firmly believe that I will see him again one day."

She added: "I just hope and pray this little girl is found quickly and safely so her parents don't have to go through the pain I have for all these years."


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